- The Washington Times - Friday, May 29, 2020

Fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with murder Friday in connection with the death of George Floyd.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced the charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter in a Friday afternoon press conference, stressing that it was “by far the fastest we’ve ever charged a police officer.”

“We felt it appropriate to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator. I must say that this case has moved with extraordinary speed,” Mr. Freeman said.

Mr. Floyd died Monday evening and Mr. Chauvin was charged less than four days later.

“That’s extraordinary,” Mr. Freeman said. “We have never charged a case in that kind of time frame, and we can only charge a case when we have sufficient admissible evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. As of right now, we have that.”

He acknowledged that he was “not insensitive” to the enormous public outrage over the bystander video showing Mr. Chauvin kneeling for several minutes on Mr. Floyd’s neck, referring to it as “the horrible, horrific, terrible thing that we’ve all seen over and over again.”

“I am not insensitive to what has happened in the streets,” Mr. Freeman said. “My own home has been picketed regularly. My job is to do it only when we have sufficient evidence. We have it today.”

He added that there may be other charges brought against Mr. Chauvin, 44, and the investigation into the other three officers at the scene, who have all reportedly been fired, is ongoing.

“Normally these cases can take nine months to a year,” he said. “We have to charge these cases very carefully because we have a difficult burden of proof.”

Mr. Freeman’s announcement came after Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Mark Harrington told reporters that the just-fired officer was taken into custody by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

A viral video released earlier this week showed the officer pressing his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck for several minutes. Mr. Floyd, who is black, was pronounced dead Monday night, touching off rioting and violence in Minneapolis and other U.S. cities.

Mr. Harrington made the announcement at the end of a press conference held by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, who vowed to restore the peace after a third night of rioting and said that the community was “hurting beyond words.”

“Our community, especially our black community, is hurting beyond words,” Mr. Walz said. “Minneapolis and St. Paul are on fire. The fire is still smoldering in our streets. The ashes are symbolic of decades and generations of pain and anguish unheard.”

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey had previously called for charges to be filed against the officers involved.

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